5 Best Banjo Brands of 2020 [Updated]

Buying any stringed instrument can be a daunting task at the start.

The prices, the durability of the strings, the many brands heard and unheard of and the many opinions can all be very confusing.

This prospect worsens when it comes to buying relatively rare stringed items that the banjo is a part of.

There is a clear distinction between a toy and an instrument and most of the companies have had a hard time discerning the two and many customers have been fallen under this trap.

Therefore, it was only convenient to create an article on the best banjo brands of 2020 and also to say why they are the best. 

The companies mentioned in the list are world-renowned brands, often not needing any introduction for the music lovers.

The companies are known for their rich histories within the music industry and the durability, quality, and affordability they offer. 

What Are The Best Banjo Brands?

What Are The Best vintage professional Banjo Brands

The best banjo brands in the current times include a collection of Huber, Stelling, Goodtime, Gold Tone, Oscar Schmidt, Fender and Recording King.

However, some brands are specifically made for expert players according to their modifications while some brands are designed to suit the tones of some specific genre of music.

Therefore, the article has been able to narrow down all the suitable brands for a beginner alongside an explanation of why they are the best. 

What Was Considered?

Brands such as Huber and Stelling have every right to be on this particular list.

But for the sake of the new players, we have opted them out.

The complete criteria are as follows:


There wouldn’t be a point in this article to include many high-end banjo brands that dig very deep into the pockets when buying for beginners.

Therefore, the high end, custom building manufactures have been opted-out and the quality and affordable brands have cut. 


As always, the quality was the primary concern when buying any instrument irrespective of a beginner, intermediate or an expert.

The mentioned brands have a very long history in the music field and also many of them had been the synonym with quality for many generations. 


There would be no point in buying a limited edition banjo which costs a lot for a beginner.

Therefore, the given brands could be widely found around the world and they also could be delivered to the doorstep.

However, is someone is in the lookout for a Stelling, Huber, Gibson, or any of the other high-end manufacturers it is highly recommended to approach a used music shop.

Not only will the price be more appealing, but there will also be the chance to play and test the instrument out. 

Best Banjo Brands of 2020

In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:

Jameson Guitars 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Back and Geared 5th Tuner
Top Pick
Gold Tone, 5-String Banjo (CC-100RW)
Old School Classic
Recording King RK-R35-BR Madison Tone Ring Banjo, Maple Resonator
Jameson Guitars 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Back and Geared 5th Tuner
Gold Tone, 5-String Banjo (CC-100RW)
Recording King RK-R35-BR Madison Tone Ring Banjo, Maple Resonator
Jameson Guitars 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Back and Geared 5th Tuner
Jameson Guitars 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Back and Geared 5th Tuner
Top Pick
Gold Tone, 5-String Banjo (CC-100RW)
Gold Tone, 5-String Banjo (CC-100RW)
Old School Classic
Recording King RK-R35-BR Madison Tone Ring Banjo, Maple Resonator
Recording King RK-R35-BR Madison Tone Ring Banjo, Maple Resonator

Alright, now let’s get to the list!

Deering Banjo Company

Deering Banjo - best banjos for the money intermediate

This would be an easy but very good recommendation to a beginner.

The brand Deering has a rich history which dates back to 1975 and is widely reputed for its high quality and great sound.

Every banjo the company makes is handcrafted which alludes to its quality which is just outside of San Diego. 

The added advantage of this brand is its ability to make banjos in any configuration the plater wants it in.

This is possible due to the talent and expertise of the handcrafters which is also a far cry from the modern mass produces brands.

Huge bands like Mumford & Sons even use models from the Southern California manufacturer.

With the companies humble beginnings starting from a brand line called Goodtime banjos, it now caters to musicians of every limited who are on a budget but also need a good quality instrument.

Therefore, this company has a fine balance between affordability and quality. 

Hence, the quality of Deering is almost unmatched in the world of banjos with the brand extending to some more great lines such as the Artist, Eagle, and Private Collection.

I recommend their Goodtime banjo:

Gold-Tone Music Group

Gold-Tone Music Group - best professional banjo for beginners, best for the money

This company specializes in the production of high-quality banjos for acoustic players of different levels.

Having had its beginnings in 1993, the company had expanded a lot through its brief history to produce a range of high-end guitars, mandolins, basses, and ukuleles. 

The brand also offers one of the best selections of ‘alternative’ instruments which is the name given to hybrid instruments often with a combination of a cello/banjo, banjo, Bela Fleck (baritone banjo), and banjitar.

They offer a great variety for new experimental players who also tries to use different methods to produce new music pieces. 

The Gold Tone CC-50 is often regarded as one of the best instruments to start as a beginner with its easy to play strings and the sweet tunes armed with the quality of Gold Tune.

However, this could be more expensive than the rest of the instruments on the list. 

This Gold Tone is one of the best banjos made by the brand:

Oscar Schmidt

Oscar Schmidt - best banjo under $500 budget affordable

Oscar Schmidt also has a very rich history over 100 years to its name and it brings all of its expertise and experience to banjos when producing them making them a force to be reckoned with.

Although better known for their stunning guitars, the experience plays a huge role in creating stunning banjos too which is also a very good reason to stick to the producers of many generations than the mass-produced products. 

However, that being said, the company still has to stamp their feet in the banjo world with one good product to impress the professionals which they haven’t done so far.

But the experience and the expertise the company carries can easily offer a great instrument for beginner and intermediate level players. 

Here is an excellent and affordable banjo made by the brand:


fender banjo - best banjo for bluegrass 5 string banjo

There isn’t a soul in the world of music who haven’t heard of this name, and the quality delivers.

Typically associated with guitars ranging to the musical elite, Fender had now expanded its market to the world of banjos as well. 

After production, the company handpicked some good versions of the banjos and developed them further to make a huge selection of banjos with prices ranging from $200 to the thousands.

The major advantage of the fender instruments is its lifetime warranty, and the company had expanded this warranty to the banjos as well. ​

A great beginner/intermediate banjo, like the Concert Toneis available for under $400 in most places. 

Check it out here.

Recording King Banjos

Recording King Banjos - best vintage banjo brands

Recording King too has a rich history dating back to the ’30s and being able to master the craft of banjos ever since.

The American company also does an exceptional job in the creation of vintage-style instruments with modern twists.

The LBL Starlight Series is a perfect example of this.

Though the instrument looks like a relic in the ’50s, it is a piece of modern equipment constructed according to the modern specifications. 

Final Thoughts

Included in the list is a complete set of reliable banjos which would prove the test of time as well as provide a high-quality service. If you can’t spare enough money for the physical instrument, you could download a couple of banjo VST plugins and test them out.

All brands mentioned here are high quality, time tested brands with some being over 100 years old and are affordable than the other mass-produced brands, much like the world-famous Yamaha and Casio digital pianos and keyboards

However, these instruments can only do so little and the main part is the duty of the player to make the maximum use of it. 

Last update on 2021-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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